Monday, November 05, 2007

Break

I am going to take a break from this blog for a few weeks. I'll be back at it sometime after the American Thnksgiving holiday - Nov. 22.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Surge is Just a Stopgap

Two posts ago I was speaking about the success of the surge and the cost in lives it has created. Here's some more on the surge from Progress Report, 11/2/2007...

'SURGE' FAILS AT PRIMARY AIMS: Bush's escalation strategy has been unable to attain its primary goal of reducing violence to "help make reconciliation possible ." While the administration has been trumpeting a trend of decreasing violence, Iraqi government figures obtained yesterday reveal that the "number of Iraqis killed in insurgent and sectarian attacks rose in October, " illustrating how the administration is pushing claims that it is gaining "momentum " in Iraq while ignoring the pervasive volatility there.

Although levels of violence are down from "pre-surge" levels, "there might be fewer attacks because you have ethnically cleansed neighborhoods ," according to the Government Accountability Office. A recent report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq reconstruction stated, "Despite reduced violence [since pre-surge levels], officials are pessimistic that lasting reconciliation is occurring " in Baghdad and surrounding provinces. Earlier this month, "several top Iraqi leaders say they have lost faith " in the prospect of reconciliation."

Diplomats In Fight For Freedom

A few days ago I posted an item about American diplomats (State Department Employees) being told that there were too few diplomats volunteering to go to Iraq, so that State Department was going to force some of them to go. It was a sort of "draft" for non-combatant employees.

At the time of that post, I noted that there was a protest going on by the State Department folks and that, when I found a source regarding the situation, I would post it here. Well,
Wonkette had a few choice words about the situation - and a link or two to some news articles about the flap. Click the link for more.

The biggest complaints diplomats have about the U.S. Embassy in Iraq is that, well, people tend to shoot at it. In fact, they’re always shooting at things in Iraq. Everywhere! And of course, this makes for some saaaad pandas:

One woman said she returned from a tour in Basra with post-traumatic stress disorder only to find that the State Department would not authorize medical treatment.

Boo-freaking-hoo, lady. “Ooh, look at me, I saw a man get shot and stuff and… and… it was all weird, I’m a little baby, wah wah wah!” Get over it! Go and serve your country already, like I do every day by making fun of it on the Internet.

Is Iraq Getting Better?

There's not much in the news any more about the Iraq war. When was the last time you heard a newscaster talk about casualties in Iraq? The question must be asked - is the surge working?

It looks like the focus of the war is shifting. I posted not long ago about the shift from ground attacks to the increased use of bombing. This saves American lives, but causes significantly more civilian casualties. Of course, if you're George W. Bush, I suppose the loss of civilian Iraqis is far more preferable than the loss of American soldiers. BUT - that's still not the whole truth. The following is from Daily Kos - click the link to read more.

So far this year, 839 coalition soldiers have died in Iraq. Ten fewer than were killed in all of 2004, the year with the worst fatality tally so
far.

Since March 20, 2003, when the invasion of Iraq was launched, there have been 4145 coalition fatalities.

Gunatanamo is a Hell Hole

The morality of those in the Bush Administration, along with their professed love for the Christian Word, must lead one to believe, if they are to be believed, that their God is a heartless, cruel and demonic God.

The following is from Daily Kos - click the link to read more.

Lt. Col. Colby Vokey has served in the Marine Corp for the last twenty years, and spent the last four as chief of the Corps' defense lawyers for the western United States. Everyone who knows Vokey has described him as the straightest of straight arrows.

---

The U.S. has imprisoned hundreds of "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay in a military legal system that Vokey denounces as "horrific." Vokey saw the system first-hand when he agreed two years ago to defend a teenager there who had been charged with murdering a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. Vokey said he knew the case would be difficult, but he discovered that the legal system at Guantanamo is a "sham."


Vokey's 15 year-old Canadian client had been tortured into signing a confession, including being used a "human mop" to wipe his own urine off the floor after being left chained in painful positions for many hours at a time. Vokey was kept from meeting with his client, or from seeing the evidence against him.

Politics TV Takes On Larry Craig (video)

Cafferty On The Cost Of The War

A Taste of Bill Maher

Cheney Bashing


UN Bashing

These do not reflect my sentiments - I believe the world would be worse off without the UN - but someone felt that the following needed to be posted somewhere.


Iraqi Progress


Matchbook.Com Posting?


He Sucks, I Guess

This is not my image, and not my captioning, but it looks like someone things GWB is like a vacuum cleaner.


Friday, November 02, 2007

US Neglects Afghan War

The Bush/Cheney fascination with winning the war in Iraq knows no bounds. Although the strikes against US targets by al Qaeda originated in Afghanistan, that part of the "war on terror" is being sadly neglected. The incompetence displayed by this administration seems to grow in importance almost every day.

The following is from CBS via Crooks and Liars. Click the link to read more.

After six years, the liberation of Afghanistan has become a triumph without victory. The fighting is the greatest it has been since the beginning of the war and more civilians are dying. In fact, 60 Minutes was surprised to hear this: while the enemy has killed hundreds of civilians this year, a similar number of civilians have been killed by American forces. With relatively few troops there, the U.S. and NATO rely on air power. The number of civilians killed in air strikes has doubled.

Ahmad Chalabi Returns

Nearly every day some piece of information emerges which leads me to believe that GWB is really a fruitcake - his elevator does not go all the way to the top floor - he's a few watts short of a full lightbulb. The following is today's episode in "How The Idiot Mind Works."

IRAQ -- CHALABI REEMERGES AS 'IMPORTANT PART' OF PETRAEUS STRATEGY: Yesterday, McClatchy revealed that Ahmad Chalabi, the disgraced Iraqi politician who embellished reports of Iraq's WMDs to encourage an American attack, has "re-emerged as a central figure in the latest U.S. strategy for Iraq." As the new head of the services committee, charged with bringing electricity, health, and other services to Baghdad, Chalabi serves at "the heart of the surge plan." Col. Steven Boylan, spokesman for Gen. David Petraeus, heralded Chalabi as "an important part of the process." Chalabi became the darling of the Bush administration after "providing White House and Pentagon officials and journalists with a stream of bogus or exaggerated intelligence about Iraq's weapons programs and ties to terrorists." Since then, he has revealed U.S. intelligence secrets to Iran, "sabotaged" U.S.-backed de-Baathification reforms, allegedly engaged in a counterfeiting operation in Iraq, and was convicted of embezzlement.

From the Progress Report - 10/29/2007

US Not Well Thought Of

Our position in the world is declining because of bad choices by our leaders in Washington. Unreasonable wars, torture, poor fiscal management, poor moral leadership, disintegrating freedoms, and much more have led to a general, overall negative opinion of the US. The following is from Reuters via Yahoo News...

Iran is the country most people around the world would like see having less power, followed closely by the United States, a new opinion poll showed on Wednesday.

The survey, which polled 57,000 people from 52 countries, showed 39 percent of respondents wanted to see the influence of Iran diminished, compared with 37 percent for the United States.

Vets Oppose The War

The J-Walk Blog has a post on why some Veterans of the Iraq war oppose it. The link on the site also lead to some rationale behind the reasons.

One of my favorites is #3 - Corporate profiteering is driving the war in Iraq.

Click the link to read more.

Hardball: Democratic Excuses

Perfected: The Ann Coulter Song

Dr. Cheney - Mr. Hyde


Start a Fire


Changing Times


United America?


Bush Loves Bombs

With no miliatary left, to speak of, if Bushie does decide to attack Iran, we'll have to rely on the Air Force and the Navy. I hope that's enough, but Iran has a much larger military than Iraq did, and it's better organized. They'll have no problem retaliating against American targets, whether it's overseas or in the U.S. Be prepared.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rep. Peter Stark Speaks Truth

As I understand it, since this all took place, Stark has apologized - but he had no real reason to - he spoke the plain truth. The video is from Crooks and Liars...They don't give an option to embed their videos, so I downloaded it and posted it myself.


video

Drafting Diplomats

I don't have a news source on the follow up to the clip below, but there is a major revolt going on in D.C. over this. When I find a good source, I'll post the follow-up in this blog.

From Daily Kos - click the link to read more.

For some reason the State Department is having trouble finding volunteers to work in Iraq, so for the first time since the Vietnam War: ...200 to 300 employees will be notified of their selection as "prime candidates" for 50 open positions in Iraq...However, if an insufficient number volunteers by Nov. 12, a department panel will determine which ones will be ordered to report to the Baghdad embassy next summer.

Those who receive the selection letters will have 10 days to file a written notice of objection. The review panel will consider the objections, but Thomas made clear that a serious, documented medical condition is likely to be the only valid excuse. The department has the authority to fire anyone who refuses to accept an assignment.

Whistleblower on Guantanamo

Not much more new here either - another man with a conscience finally wakes up to tell the truth. From the Independent - click the link to read more.

An American military lawyer and veteran of dozens of secret Guantanamo tribunals has made a devastating attack on the legal process for determining whether Guantanamo prisoners are "enemy combatants".

The whistleblower, an army major inside the military court system which the United States has established at Guantanamo Bay, has described the detention of one prisoner, a hospital administrator from Sudan, as "unconscionable".

Bush/Cheney Nuts

Nothing new here, just reaffirmation of what most of us think. This from the J-Walk Blog - read more by clicking on the link.

Forget impeachment. Liberals, put it behind you. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney shouldn't be treated like criminals who deserve punishment. They should be treated like psychotics who need treatment. Because they've clearly gone mad. Exhibit A: We're in the middle of a disastrous war in Iraq, the military and political situation in Afghanistan is steadily worsening, and the administration's interrogation and detention tactics have inflamed anti-Americanism and fueled extremist movements around the globe. Sane people, confronting such a situation, do their best to tamp down tensions, rebuild shattered alliances, find common ground with hostile parties and give our military a little breathing space. But crazy people? They look around and decide it's a great time to start another war.

Must Be the Clinton's Fault

Read more at Crooks and Liars (this is from the Fox News Service)...

We know, with a 70 percent level of certainty - which is huge in the world of intelligence - that in August of 2007, bin Laden was in a convoy headed south from Tora Bora. We had his butt, on camera, on satellite. We were listening to his conversations. We had the world’s best hunters/killers - Seal Team 6 - nearby. We had the world class Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) coordinating with the CIA and other agencies. We had unmanned drones overhead with missiles on their wings; we had the best Air Force on the planet, begging to drop one on the terrorist. We had him in our sights; we had done it. Nice job again guys - now, pull the damn trigger.

Unbelievably, and in my opinion, criminally, we did not kill Usama bin Laden.

You cannot make this crap up; truth is always stranger and more telling than fiction. Our government, the current administration and yes, our military leaders included, failed to kill bin Laden for no other reason than incompetence.

Cafferty on Bush Budget Priorities (Video)

Treason To Disagree

I post this so that those who agree with the philosophy of this blog can follow the deep thinking of the bright lights on the neo-con side of issues.

Republican Philosopher!


Dying For A Cause

Bush's Time Line




Say What? Fox Confused.


Anti-Edwards Humor

Playing up the fact that Edwards was a personal-injury lawyer...somehow, I guess, this is worse in the Republican mind than being a no-show for the National Guard during war time.


George Speaks Out